With such a bizarre and controversial figure at the helm, it’s not really surprising that Michal Huniewicz found little to suggest North Korea is not the warped place we are led to believe it is. In a recent collection posted on his website M1key.com, the photographer also explained the bizarre details behind some of the scenes.
Although no locals seemed to have any objections, having crossed from South Korea, it was illegal to take any photographs from the train.
In fact, smartphones were permitted even on tour but with no wifi connection, you run a severe risk as they are thoroughly searched on the way out.
Bicycles and foot are the most common means of transport as seen in this photograph and while tourists are permitted to travel by train into North Korea, this must be in the company of a designated tour guide – oh, Americans are not allowed on this train, they must fly instead.
The cities appear like an outdated imperial version of Eastern Europe, run down yet possibly prosperous once upon a time.
Here a group of workers march efficiently across a bridge, the party slogan in North Korea seems apt to such scenes – “If you survive a thousand miles of suffering, there will be ten thousand miles of happiness”.
The only time you can move without a guide is in the hotel, the reason being as Michael accounts, that they confiscate your passport and to travel without this is stupid for it means inevitable complications for the traveller.
It is said that the locals of North Korea are led to believe the rest of the world admires and is in awe of their achievements – it’s hard to deny the place seems like one of a kind.
Naturally, there are many scenes of normality in North Korea too, but then how can you expect normality in a place to restricted and confined to the ideology of a lunatic.
It was forbidden to take a photograph of this statue unless it contained the two leaders and only the two leaders.
It would seem they forgot to check Mikes smartphone all that well.